Anatomy of a personalized livestreaming system

Bolun Wang, Xinyi Zhang, Gang Wang, Haitao Zheng, Ben Y. Zhao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


With smartphones making video recording easier than ever, new apps like Periscope and Meerkat brought personalized interactive video streaming to millions. With a touch, viewers can switch between first person perspectives across the globe, and interact in real-Time with broadcasters. Unlike traditional video streaming, these services require low-latency video delivery to support high interactivity between broadcasters and audiences. We perform a detailed analysis into the design and performance of Periscope, the most popular personal livestreaming service with 20 million users. Using detailed measurements of Periscope (3 months, 19M streams, 705M views) and Meerkat (1 month, 164K streams, 3.8M views), we ask the critical question: "Can personalized livestreams continue to scale, while allowing their audiences to experience desired levels of interactivity?" We analyze the network path of each stream and break down components of its end-To-end delay. We find that much of each stream's delay is the direct result of decisions to improve scalability, from chunking video sequences to selective polling for reduced server load. Our results show a strong link between volume of broadcasts and stream delivery latency. Finally, we discovered a critical security flaw during our study, and shared it along with a scalable solution with Periscope and Meerkat management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIMC 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Internet Measurement Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery,
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450345262
StatePublished - Nov 14 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2016 - Santa Monica, United States
Duration: Nov 14 2016Nov 16 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC


Other2016 ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Monica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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